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The Monitor Movie Guide

By STAFF / July 16, 1999



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Excellent ++++

Good +++

Fair ++

Poor +

The Worst DUD


THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (R) Directors: Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick. With Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard. (87 min.) ++ The premise behind this offbeat picture is that three film students disappeared after trekking into a supposedly haunted forest, and were watching the film and video they shot before meeting their mysterious fate. The concept is clever, suggesting a new way to build horror-movie suspense without much on- camera gore. The movie would be better as a 30-minute short, though, since its shaky camera work and fuzzy images get monotonous after a while, and there's not much room for character development within the very limited plot.

EYES WIDE SHUT (R) Director: Stanley Kubrick. With Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson, Leelee Sobieski, Rade Sherbedgia. (159 min.) +++ After his wife confesses to having sexual fantasies, a successful physician drifts into unexpected events that lead him to a mysterious mansion full of illicit activities and what might be deadly dangers. Brilliantly filmed in his usual transfixing style, Kubricks last movie pleads for alertness to the temptations that assail human nature from within and without. Its weighed down by wordy dialogue and a slowly paced story, though. Written by Kubrick and Frederick Raphael, its based on an Arthur Schnitzler novella. Contains explicit sex, nudity, and drug use. VSex/Nudity: 17 instances with 7 scenes of full frontal and/or partial nudity, 1 graphic orgy scene, propositioning, and implied child sex. VViolence: 2 instances of mild violence, one implied. VProfanity: 35 harsh expressions. VDrugs: 4 scenes with social drinking, 1 with marijuana, 1 death by overdose.

LAKE PLACID (R) Director: Steve Miner. With Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson. (88 min.) + Placid lake, giant crocodile, chomp chomp. Stay away unless you enjoy gross- out violence, and stay even farther away if you're an animal lover, since some of the most grisly attacks are aimed at cows who just want to chew their cuds in peace. Whats a good cast doing in a clunky horror-spoof like this?

MUPPETS FROM SPACE (G) Director: Tim Hill. With Muppet performers and Ray Liotta, David Arquette, Jeffrey Tambor, Andie MacDowell, F. Murray Abraham, Pat Hingle. (82 min.) ++ Gonzo always knew he was unique, and now he learns why: His family is from outer space, and a reunion is long overdue. Muppet fans will enjoy the antics of Miss Piggy and her friends, but others may find the action less sprightly and funny than it tries to be.

Currently in Release AMERICAN PIE (R) Director: Paul Weitz. With Jason Biggs, Natasha Lyonne, Chris Klein, Shannon Elizabeth, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Seann W. Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Eugene Levy. (100 min.) + A bunch of high-school boys make a vow to consummate their sex lives before graduation, and pursue various girls with this project in mind. Teenybopper comedies rarely reach heights of inspiration, and this one is mostly unappealing despite a handful of amusing performances. Contains a high degree of gross-out humor. VSex/Nudity: 78 instances of graphic sexual innuendo and activity, 11 instances with partial and/or complete nudity. VViolence: 2 scenes involving fistfights. VProfanity: 62 expressions. VDrugs: 29 instances of drinking.

AN IDEAL HUSBAND (PG-13) Director: Oliver Parker. With Jeremy Northam, Julianne Moore, Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett, John Wood, Minnie Driver, Peter Vaughan, Jeroen Krabb. (97 min.) +++ Oscar Wildes play inspired this supple comedy, centering on a well- starched British gentleman whos hiding a secret that could touch off a political scandal if a beautiful blackmailer doesnt get what she wants. The dialogue is witty, the cast is appealing, and modern-day moviegoers will spot more than a few parallels between their morally checkered age and London of a century ago. +++1/2 Sparkling comedy, fun plot twists, intelligent, charming, witty. VSex/Nudity: Fleeting nudity, mild innuendo, 1 instance of implied sex. VViolence: None. VProfanity: 7 mild expressions. VDrugs: 9 scenes with drinking and/or smoking.